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Discovery Costa Rica, $1 billion ecotourism park planned by media giant

discovery costa rica

Mass media and entertainment company Discovery Communications Inc. is licensing its name for a $1 billion ecotourism park, Discovery Costa Rica. The Maryland-based company is seeking to leverage its popular brands, which include Discovery Channel, Discovery Science and Animal Planet.

The new ecotourism park, called Discovery Costa Rica, will open in late 2020. The location will be in the country’s northwest, close to the town of Liberia. This is a regional hub through which tourists pass as they make their way to the country’s Pacific coast beaches.

“Live out the lifestyle” at Discovery Costa Rica

Among the attractions at Discovery Costa Rica there will be a water park together with Discovery-branded hotels and restaurants. Visitors will engage in outdoor pursuits including hiking, rock climbing and scuba diving. They will do this across four Discovery Costa Ricadiscovery communications logo locations. These will be sited at the country’s beaches, parks and volcanoes. The attraction will have a focus on biodiversity and conservation.

The developer leading the project, Sun Latin America, in going down the ecotourism/ adventure play route is taking a more low-key approach with the brand than other media gaints. Whilst Disney and Universal run theme parks asscociated with their brands, Discovery’s entry into Costa Rica will be much more akin to the recently announced Extreme Sports Company‘s project in Wales, with a focus on outdoor pursuits and exercise.

Leigh Anne Brodsky is executive vice president of Discovery Global Enterprises, the company’s licensing unit. She said she wants viewers to, “live out the lifestyle of Discovery beyond the experience of a TV screen. Millennials are interested in more than lying in a beach chair. They want to have an experience.”

(The demands and expectations of Millennials are of course tough to pin down, as highlighted recently by Clara Rice, JRA‘s Director of Communications in her article on hiring creative talent.)

With traditional streams of revenue such as cable subscriber fees and TV advertising not growing as fast as they once were, licensing its brand gives Discovery a valuable new income stream with attractve potential for growth.

Growth in Discovery Licensing

An adventure park in Moganshan, China which opened last year is using the Discovery name and the company also has a partnership with Princess Cruises for snorkeling and other activities. These are linked to Discovery TV brands such as “Deadliest Catch” and “Shark Week.”

In addition, Dubai Aquarium has a “Shark Week” exhibit. Project managed by zoOceanarium Group, it allows visitors to interact with both virtual and real sharks.

Licensing deals such as those mentioned above amount to less than 5% of Discovery’s $6.5 billion 2016 revenue. However, for a brand present in 220 countries with 3 billion viewers, there is clearly huge potential for further development and the company is exploring more opportuntites.

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Charles Read

Charles is Managing Director at Blooloop. He attends numerous trade shows around the world and frequently speaks about trends and social media for the attractions industry at conferences. Outside of Blooloop his passions are diving, trees and cricket.

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